Some Thoughts After 1500+ Pathfinder ACG Threads


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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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I’ve now read (and sometimes commented on) more than 1100 boardgamegeek.com threads and 400 paizo.com threads about the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. There are some themes running through those threads that I’d like to address, and then some major clarifications I’d like to issue. These are my opinions, and no one else’s. But first a caveat.

The very posting of these comments will incense some people. Board game designers are supposed to produce elegant works of perfection that need no clarifications, no errata, no commentary at all. We’re unique that way: trading card game players expect reams of floor rules, RPG players expect game masters will gloss over problems, and computer game players expect frequent downloadable patches. I like that high expectation of board game designers, as it keeps people like me on their guard for anything that might go wrong. Even when we do something as far off the beaten path as this game, those standards should be what we aim for.

My goal with this is to make sure that everyone is having fun playing my game the way it’s supposed to be played. I made some mistakes that got in the way of that, and you can call me out for it. As long as you’re observing Wheaton’s Law, I can handle whatever criticisms you have, and I can adapt to make sure we do things better.

In the first printing of the PACG, there are so far 15 unique cards (out of about 700) that have functional, non-cosmetic problems. That’s too much for my team’s taste, but perfection is always elusive. The more significant issues come in the rulebook, where we’ve learned that I made some assumptions I should not have made. The appearance of the same questions over and over makes me realize that some critical sentences were left out of the rulebook. These are high-level, 10,000-foot-view things about getting your mind right when you’re playing the game. These concepts exist in the rulebook, but nowhere near as clear as they should be. This game is incredibly intricate, far more than any game I’ve designed since I left Wizards, and so clarity is paramount.

To address this issue, I’m going to add a series of meta-rules to go with the PACG: Rise of the Runelords edition. Here is a draft of the rules we're considering, and the wordings are not final. We have a little time to adjust these, so your opinions are highly valued.

1. The cards do what they say.
1A. If a card doesn't tell you it does something, it doesn't.
1B. If a card doesn't say when it does something, it can do it any time cards can be played.

This sweeping rule tells you to read any card as it is encountered or played, and do whatever it says as soon as possible. You don't look at the rulebook first; you read the card and let it tell you what to do. Examples: A character can play an armor regardless of whether she has armor cards in her deck list. A spell may be cast any time, except during times when cardplay is expressly prohibited. A weapon cannot be used to acquire another weapon because it only says it assists with combat checks. A monster that's immune to Mental traits cannot be evaded by a Sleep spell. “After the encounter” damage occurs whether or not you defeat the bane. You can’t roll a recharge check for a card that says “Recharge: None.” Any number of players may play blessings at once, from anywhere. If a card doesn’t say it works on “your check” or “another character’s check,” it works on anyone’s; if it doesn’t say where it works, it affects a character at any location. And so on.

2. However, cards only work when it’s appropriate that they work.
Cards’ powers only relate to the specific situations they reference, and if you’re not in those situations, you can’t play them. You don’t ever try to acquire the card you flip off the blessings discard pile, or one that’s already in your hand. If you examine a card, you don’t have to encounter it unless whatever let you examine it requires you to do so. You can’t cast Cure in response to taking damage, because Cure isn’t about taking damage. You can’t play Detect Evil on a location that has no cards. Valeros can’t recharge a weapon if he discards it as a cost to trigger another card’s effect, because he’s not playing the weapon for its effect, just as payment for the other card to work. Nothing works unless it makes sense.

3. It's your encounter, and no one else can resolve it for you.
Whenever you encounter a card, or make a check, you – and only you – must resolve it. No other character can evade it, defeat it, acquire it, close it, decide what to do with it, or fail at doing any of those things. If Sajan encounters a monster, Merisiel cannot evade it for him. If Harsk encounters a card, Seoni cannot defeat or acquire it for him, unless it requires two checks to do so, in which case Harsk must attempt at least one of them. If Ezren defeats a henchman at the Sandpoint Cathedral, Seelah cannot discard a blessing to close the location. In other words, if you need to wait your turn, wait your turn.

4. Cards don’t have memories.
You may have to remember things to play this game, but your cards don’t. They forget they’ve been played after they’ve done whatever it is they do. So if you reveal a weapon on a combat check, and then have to make another combat check in the same encounter, you can reveal that weapon again. If Kyra discards a Cure to heal herself, and then a card puts that Cure back in her hand, she can use Cure to heal herself again. Displayed cards work as long as they’re displayed. This rule doesn’t mean that things you did earlier in a check don’t matter, though; you still need to know whether you played a 2-Handed weapon when you try to play your Wooden Shield, for example.

5. Everything that happens inside a step is part of that step.
There are discrete steps in a turn: advance the blessings deck, give a card, move, explore, try to close a location, reset your hand, end your turn. When you encounter a card, you can evade it, apply any “before the encounter” effect, attempt its check, do any additional check, apply any “after the encounter” effect, and resolve the encounter. Each of these steps is an opportunity to play cards, and the rule about playing one card of each type applies to each such step. Also, damage can occur on a lot of those, and when it does, it’s still part of that step. So if you played an item to increase your roll on a check, you can’t use another item (or even the same one) to reduce damage. It’s still in the same step.

6. There are no nested checks.
A check must resolve entirely before another check can be initiated. For example, for a villain with two combat checks, you must finish the first one before starting the second. If different players can temporarily close several locations, they must resolve them in an order of their choice. If a spell or other card used in a check is available for a recharge check, put it to the side where it is not available for taking damage or any other purpose, and then when you’re done with the first check, make the recharge check. Checks and damage dealings that occur “before the encounter,” “during the encounter,” and “after the encounter” are different checks and damage dealings, and you can start the 1-per-card-type over at each one. If two checks can happen at the same time, the player whose turn it is determines the order of the checks.

7. Skills and dice are not the same.
This game frequently asks you to roll a “Strength check” or a “Perception check.” That’s a simple concept that has some complexity to it. When you have a skill, you roll that skill’s die plus any bonuses listed by that skill; if you don’t have the skill, you roll a d4. But when a card gives you another die of that skill (the same size as you get from the skill), that’s all it gives you. You don’t get your bonuses again. You don’t get the skill associated with that die. You don’t get the ability to recharge a spell that requires the Arcane skill if you don’t have it. You don’t get the ability to play a Blessing of Gorum for 2 dice on your Longbow, because you’re not making a Strength check. You just get a die.

8. Boons that let you make checks give their traits to those checks.
If a card you play tells you how or when to make a check to acquire or defeat – and only in that case – apply that card's traits to the check. Ranged weapons give the Ranged trait. Magic weapons give the Magic trait. Divine spells that let you use Divine as your combat check give the Divine trait. For example, Lightning Touch tells you to make an Arcane + 2d4 combat check, and thus it applies Magic, Arcane, Attack, Electricity, and Basic traits to the check. Guidance, on the other hand, does not tell you to make a check, so it does not apply any of its traits to the check, regardless of the fact that it is only used in checks. (This is a huge departure from my slapdash statement online that “cards give their traits to checks,” which was overbroad and a clear reminder that game designers should never be allowed to speak in public.)

These are fairly big rulings. They cover a lot of threads that may have tailed off when we decided to go make sure we were telling you how to play the game that was in our heads. So I’d encourage you to seek out these threads and close them off. Maybe then we’ll stop seeing threads that ask how you acquire the top card of the blessings discard pile. Maybe.

I’m not happy to have written this post. Trust me, my standards are at least as high as yours for my games. All I can say is that there aren’t a lot of guides on how to make a fusion of an RPG, cooperative puzzle game, and collectible card game. I’ve got a better understanding of it now. I hope you can see that I care as much about your gameplay experience as you do, and am only interested in improving it as much as I can.

Thanks for reading this far, and as always I look forward to your comments. And thanks for playing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Mike


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Its clear how much passion you have for the game. I think as gamers we get a little too demanding at times and expect perfection. I mean....can you imagine what it would have been like if Gygax and Arneson had a forum like this when AD&D came out? It was plagued with loose ends! Anyway....I play with the family and its all been a blast.....and I we just have made a ruling and went on when something was ambiguous.

Anyway....the fact you are in here talking to us....in the actual trenches so to speak is awesome. Thanks for caring about getting the bugs worked out and for delivering a great game.....bugs and all. We love it

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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Much appreciated.

Silver Crusade

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Mike,

Obviously, there are a ton of problems in the wording of your post, which you'll need to clarify. I don't know what they are yet, but someone will be along shortly to point them out. :P

But seriously, thanks for your hard work on this. It's a great game, and in all the posts I've made here, I don't know if I took the time to thank you for designing it, and for being there to put up with all of our stupid questions since. I know I keep posting with things I'd like to see added, or wished were different, but that's only because I like the game so much that I want even MORE from it. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't care enough to post.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

That is also appreciated.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Hallelujah!! The gospel thread has been written! Mike I love you, man. Your game is great and you are great. Just keep up the good work.

P.S. Anyway we can get this stickied?


Thanks for a lot of the clarifications you (and Vic) have given. My friends and I have enjoyed the game a lot. My wife and I are the furthest along we've seen and we've made mistakes, both with strategy and rules. I look forward to us playing around again with a better understanding.

And, as for perfection, the team over at Paizo has had some of the most outstanding products I've seen in over 30 years of gaming. They done some things I don't agree with and there have been a few things I've found less than great, but these few things are far overtaken by the excellent stuff they have produced since Pathfinder began. Keep up the good work.

Paizo Employee Developer

I've stickied the thread so that it's visible to as many people as possible.


Agree with ern2112. Simply, everything outlined here is easy to "assume" if that is the way it is in your head already. The familiar often does not set off the 'alarms' for needing clarification, and only upon review both those unfamiliar does it become visible that perhaps it doesn't always read the same way to everyone.

So, at least IMO, everything mentioned on your list makes perfect sense both in how it works, but also why it needs a bit more clarification after the fact.

Luckily, for us, you are so involved and passionate about the game that you have immediately begun working to resolve issues and confusion to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, many other companies in such a situation remain silent, and occasionally push out a random errata without any warning.

Really, your efforts on behalf of the game have impressed me.

Thanks very much!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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dvang wrote:
Unfortunately, many other companies in such a situation remain silent, and occasionally push out a random errata without any warning.

Paizo is not "many other companies." :)


Thanks Mike - this is simply awesome!

(Even if I now have to rethink my using-spells-to-make-a-check-magic tactics...)

This thread is yet another example of you (and Vic) going above-and-beyond the call of duty to provide feedback and clarification to your rabid fans.

Personally, I don't expect or demand perfection from the start. What matters most is the willingness to improve and iterate towards perfection - and you (and Paizo) have proved this again and again.

Now. Stop writing up responses to PACG threads and get working on the second Adventure Path!


Thankyou mike and the team.....lets not forget the team........for all your hard work.....its must rack your brain reading all these threads. A BIG THUMBS UP!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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h4ppy wrote:
Now. Stop writing up responses to PACG threads and get working on the second Adventure Path!

This would please our scheduler Jessica Price greatly.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Adrian Firth wrote:
Thankyou mike and the team.....lets not forget the team........for all your hard work.....its must rack your brain reading all these threads. A BIG THUMBS UP!

It does indeed rack my brain, but I'm never going to complain about being the popular kid.

The team is awesome, and they know I think so.


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Mike - great stuff. First read, I would say item 7 needs a little more added to it. Perhaps say specifically, in some way, that rolling [x] for a check means "use this skill". Its there in item 7, I feel it could just be made even more clear. We still see 1x10^1B threads on BGG centered around Sajan's Dexterity combat.

Thanks again for all your passion and your drive for perfection. You have created a special game and I hope its obvious to you that the massive amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth is an indication that your game is super popular.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

mostman79 wrote:
Mike - great stuff. First read, I would say item 7 needs a little more added to it. Perhaps say specifically, in some way, that rolling [x] for a check means "use this skill". Its there in item 7, I feel it could just be made even more clear. We still see 1x10^1B threads on BGG centered around Sajan's Dexterity combat.

More comments like this, please.

mostman79 wrote:
Thanks again for all your passion and your drive for perfection. You have created a special game and I hope its obvious to you that the massive amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth is an indication that your game is super popular.

These are also nice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is very helpful, but it still doesn't explain what happens when a chupacabra attacks a zombie at the Alamo...
;)

Thanks for all of your efforts Mike.

I think one of the problems is that a few of us have been reading a large enough percentage of the various threads to discombobulate us. Not as large a percentage as you, of course...

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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Scribbling Rambler wrote:

This is very helpful, but it still doesn't explain what happens when a chupacabra attacks a zombie at the Alamo...

;)

Now *that* game I want to make.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, Joss Whedon was able to parlay his Avengers success into another TV show ;)


Mike,

Thanks for all your hard work and clarification.

As a point of order, I don't expect perfection out of you folks, I just expect problems to be addressed as they arise. As I think you pointed out before, prior to release you have x number of playtesters, after release you have exponentially more, no matter how good you are, stuff is going to turn up.

Again, thanks for a great game.

Also, I know this is hard to imagine, but I think people probably over analyze the cards just a wee bit.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

I should probably explain how errata and clarifications happen.

1. We hear about something, typically through gameplay or on a forum.
2. If it's a clear typo, we just fix it. It goes into a list of changes that get updated in the next printing. We haven't had threads about these, because they're just obvious.
3. For anything else, either Vic or I take note of it. Assuming it's not instantly dismissible, I take it back to my team for discussion. We beat it around for a while.
4. Chad (typically) writes a new version of the rule, if we think it needs one.
5. I send it to Vic, who very likely rewrites it.
6. He sends it back to me for approval.
7. I give him my feedback, and then when all is well, he posts it to the FAQ.
8. We then mark it for inclusion in the next version of the card or the rulebook.

That's why it can take even a couple of weeks to get an official ruling sometimes. It's also why all my rulings are unofficial until Vic updates the FAQ.

Hope that helps.


Mike Selinker wrote:

5. Everything that happens inside a step is part of that step.

There are discrete steps in a turn: advance the blessings deck, give a card, move, explore, try to close a location, reset your hand, end your turn. When you encounter a card, you can evade it, apply any “before the encounter” effect, attempt its check, do any additional check, apply any “after the encounter” effect, and resolve the encounter. Each of these steps is an opportunity to play cards, and the rule about playing one card of each type applies to each such step. Also, damage can occur on a lot of those, and when it does, it’s still part of that step. So if you played an item to increase your roll on a check, you can’t use another item (or even the same one) to reduce damage. It’s still in the same step.

On my first read through I noticed the third refers to 'each of these steps' but the encounter steps are not explicitly identified as such. I would suggest the following for consistent flow (assuming it's correct):

Suggested wrote:

5. Everything that happens inside a step is part of that step.

There are discrete steps in a turn: advance the blessings deck (required), give a card, move, explore, try to close a location, reset your hand (required), end your turn. When you encounter a card, you can There are also discrete steps during an encounter: evade it, apply any “before the encounter” effect, attempt its check, do any additional check, apply any “after the encounter” effect, and resolve the encounter. Each of these steps is an opportunity to play cards, and the rule about playing one card of each type applies to each such step. Also, damage can occur on a lot of those, and when it does, it’s still part of that step. So if you played an item to increase your roll on a check, you can’t use another item (or even the same one) to reduce damage. It’s still in the same step. Note that for each encounter triggered by card effects all of it steps must be resolved before another begins. An example includes Skeleton Horde where each player must resolve his encounter before another may begin hers, but the order of these encounters is determined by the player whose turn it is. Also note that if an encounter is evaded none of the rest of the encounter steps occur.

I also snuck in some encounter clarifications that I've had to make as they seem to fit there. If they fit better elsewhere so be it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Hi mike. I haven't had a problem playing the game as written (we're happy to just make a call and move on when we get to something we don't all agree on). However, to provide some feedback anyway - I wonder if you should reword number 2? "It only works if it makes sense" seems to dismiss the fact that sometimes there are two or more sensible interpretations.

I'm nitpicking, I guess, but if this list is to evolve into "the final word on resolving rules questions" number two was the one which stood out to me as less helpful than the others. (At least as far as providing a clear "viewpoint" goes).


Mike, at the end of item two, the statement, "Nothing works unless it makes sense," is going to be problematic for those new to the game.

It might be useful to list a few impossible things that must be believed before the player has breakfast.

Characters always know what is happening to other characters and are able to give blessings and fire weapons when needed.

Ranged weapons can travel across locations - passing out of a character's current location and into a teammate's location - and still hit their target.

Silver Crusade

So I've got a question on this statement:

Quote:
1B. If a card doesn't say when it does something, it can do it any time cards can be played.

When exactly is "any time cards can be played" for cards that aren't related to checks?

There have already been clarifications that you can't play any more cards once you start resetting your hand, and that cards that let you encounter location deck cards (Detect Magic, Detect Evil, "discard to explore" cards, etc) have to be on your own turn. But can you play Cure before moving? Can you play a "discard to explore" card before moving, then move, and then get your free explore at a different location, or are exploration cards only legal during the explore phase of your turn?


In reference to some of #2 (This came up on another thread also).

"Valeros can’t recharge a weapon if he discards it as a cost to trigger another card’s effect, because he’s not playing the weapon for its effect, just as payment for the other card to work."

This relates to the distinction between playing a card, and discarding, burying, or banishing one.

What I understand this to mean is:

If a card is discarded, buried, or banished as part of a cost to play another card, power, or ability, that (discarded, etc.) card cannot be recharged or have any of it's other powers activated as a result of it's being discarded, buried, or banished, and it also does not count as being played.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

NariusV wrote:

In reference to some of #2 (This came up on another thread also).

"Valeros can’t recharge a weapon if he discards it as a cost to trigger another card’s effect, because he’s not playing the weapon for its effect, just as payment for the other card to work."

This relates to the distinction between playing a card, and discarding, burying, or banishing one.

What I understand this to mean is:

If a card is discarded, buried, or banished as part of a cost to play another card, power, or ability, that (discarded, etc.) card cannot be recharged or have any of it's other powers activated as a result of it's being discarded, buried, or banished.

Right.


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Mike,

As an experienced player of games, there is nothing here that I didn't find adequately explained in the rules. The cards are also read literally. This is going to sound odd, but when we came to understand how well designed the game is, everything you wrote above was painfully obvious. The only reason we ever made mistakes was second-guessing ourselves. You can always shoot for more clarity, but I really don't feel you missed anything the first time around that shouldn't be obvious if you read the rules and cards carefully.


Mike,

All popular games have had their issues (look at FFG Arkham Horror or LoTR LCG), but many questions come from people who simply do not follow rules (how many times for Arkham Horror we had to answer: simpy follow the phase turn, etc) It does not mean a game is not good, but emphasizes on the fact that natural language in rule books makee it difficult to obtain unambiguous rules.

Anyway, your openness, honesty, ability to listen and efforts to address the real issues only reinforce the fact that PACG is a great game and that Paizo is a fantastic company that has always supported his players.


I agree with the two above (KakarisMaelstrom and zebulon) that the rules were written well. Read the cards as written, and when something seems too good to be true it probably is. I've also only had issues when second-guessing.


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Mike and the Paizo team have done an outstanding job answering questions since the games release, and i am really grateful that they did, because there were certainly elements of game play that were not clear. I read the rulebook multiple times and it did not provide the answers to some of the questions that were raised over the past month.

Yes 98% of the core mechanic of game play was easy to grasp in the rulebook, but the last 2%. To me was the most critical, in terms of me feeling like i was playing correctly.

So, as nitpicky as some of the threads may have seemed, I think they did an incredible job of honing in on some really important components of game play that needed to be clarified. Mike's post and the FAQ have tightened up the rules to about 99.9%.

I'd also like to thank the nitpicky players, for asking the tough questions and providing the debate. Hopefully it's been seen as a service to the game rather than a nuisance. But it certainly seems like its been beneficial to all. So, thanks everyone.


Fromper wrote:

So I've got a question on this statement:

Quote:
1B. If a card doesn't say when it does something, it can do it any time cards can be played.

When exactly is "any time cards can be played" for cards that aren't related to checks?

There have already been clarifications that you can't play any more cards once you start resetting your hand, and that cards that let you encounter location deck cards (Detect Magic, Detect Evil, "discard to explore" cards, etc) have to be on your own turn. But can you play Cure before moving? Can you play a "discard to explore" card before moving, then move, and then get your free explore at a different location, or are exploration cards only legal during the explore phase of your turn?

@Fromper - check out the Timing is everything thread where we're trying to hammer out things like this and distill them into a Turn sequence breakdown doc (available on BGG).

If Mike or Vic ever give an official thumbs up to that doc it will move to version 1.0. Until then it will stay at 0.x :)


Mike Selinker wrote:
If Lem discards a Cure to heal himself, and then uses his power to swap a spell in his hand with that Cure, he can use Cure to heal himself again.

wait, so Lem can use a cure before he triggers his effect to swap cards, then use it again?

I thought it could only be used at the absolute beginning or end of his turn.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Good point. I will fix that example.


Let's say Lem casts Cure and then swaps a card to get it back.

He could then recast it again later, in a time when he would normally be allowed to cast spells.

He doesn't get a free action to re-cast any spell, he only get's the ability to swap one spell once.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Good point. I will fix that example.

Oh and Mike absolutely fantastic game, I have gotten three people to purchase it just by having them try it. This combines pretty much everything we love about tabletop gaming, a very brilliant idea.

The errata and rules clarifications have had zero impact on our enjoyment, I've played each scenario probably a good 5 times each with different groups and just today realized I could cast cure on other people's turns (I play a lot of Lem and Kyra). We have just kept a tablet around with the FAQ section up and a tab for the forums to search, hardly ever becomes an issue. If you guys ever release a pdf of a more comprehensive rulebook, that would be more than enough (everyone has a smart phone).

My only complaint at all has nothing to do with the errata but with the release schedule (two months per release is a little odd). I feel people will lose interest when it takes an entire year to finish the adventure.

I do hope you guys are looking at more adventure paths from the pathfinder series to expand on this product, the gaming world needed this.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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ilazul wrote:

My only complaint at all has nothing to do with the errata but with the release schedule (two months per release is a little odd). I feel people will lose interest when it takes an entire year to finish the adventure.

I do hope you guys are looking at more adventure paths from the pathfinder series to expand on this product, the gaming world needed this.

I can't speak on that, but I do want to assure people that we have heard their wishes for more game content. It's something we take very seriously.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Sounds promising. I wonder if there might be room for the concept of a 'side quest' - a single deck with a bunch of scenarios designed to slot in between the adventures of an adventure path (like 'play this adventure any time after completing Adventure three of the AP').

It seems like the benefits could be restricted to loot cards (or other items/armor/spells/etcetera of equivalent power as the AP but unique to the side trek) rather than feats. That way balance could be preserved irrespective of whether you played through the optional side quest or not.


ilazul wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
If Lem discards a Cure to heal himself, and then uses his power to swap a spell in his hand with that Cure, he can use Cure to heal himself again.

wait, so Lem can use a cure before he triggers his effect to swap cards, then use it again?

I thought it could only be used at the absolute beginning or end of his turn.

Well, Lem can Cure on somebody else's turn (just before they recharge their hand) and then get the spell back on his own turn.

The other side of this example is "If you have two Cure spells in your hand you can use them both in the same turn"


Mike Selinker wrote:
I do want to assure people that we have heard their wishes for more game content. It's something we take very seriously.

Does this mean some more reading material to go with the Adventure packs? Oooh... shiny!

That would make the 2-months-between-packs wait more bearable!


Well, when I first bought this game I read the manual, watched a video and played the game with my kids. And we played badly. Just winging it most of the time. Then we played it again, and again. Until we (think) we got it right. Asked some basic questions on other threads that were answered almost immediately and it's been fun ever since. Once we got the hang of it, it's a really fun game. Don't be scared to play it (badly).

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Fromper wrote:

When exactly is "any time cards can be played" for cards that aren't related to checks?

There have already been clarifications that you can't play any more cards once you start resetting your hand, and that cards that let you encounter location deck cards (Detect Magic, Detect Evil, "discard to explore" cards, etc) have to be on your own turn. But can you play Cure before moving? Can you play a "discard to explore" card before moving, then move, and then get your free explore at a different location, or are exploration cards only legal during the explore phase of your turn?

You can definitely play Cure at any time between times where card play is restricted, like during a check or after resetting your hand.

However, explorations must happen during the explore step. This is alluded to here:

Quote:
You may explore your location once per turn. Many effects allow you to explore again on your turn; if, during a single exploration, multiple effects each give you an additional exploration, it counts as a total of 1 more exploration, not a series of additional explorations. You may never explore on another player’s turn.

To state that in a little more depth:

On your turn, there is one opportunity, your "free exploration," for you to begin the process of exploring. (You can always give this up. And some cards, like Kyra's character card, will allow you to trade that free exploration for something else.)
After you've done that, or chose not to, several other cards give you a second opportunity to explore (the key word there being "again").
You can't stack explorations beyond one that you haven't yet done.
This has to happen on your turn.

Make sense? If not, tell me where it doesn't.

Mike


rulebook wrote:
if, during a single exploration, multiple effects each give you an additional exploration, it counts as a total of 1 more exploration, not a series of additional explorations.
Mike wrote:
You can't stack explorations beyond one that you haven't yet done.

I think the first quote is more effective at making your point, so I'm not sure the second one is necessary. The idea of stacking explorations could lead to more confusion than it clears up.


Great post Mike! Thanks for collecting these all in one thread... it really saves on time when trying to clarify rules with my group. Also, for the record, I don't think any of us expected, for a game of this type; with regular expansions and additions; that there would not need to be rules clarifications and modifications. That would have been absolutely shocking to me if it had occurred. So, don't feel bad! You guys have made a great game, and the sheer volume of questions only underscores how much people like it.

Now. Regarding your statement of #2 ("cards only work when its appropriate that they work") Since I've been following a lot of the threads that specifically deal with questions its meant to address, I'm pretty sure I know what you mean here. However, I can also see the wording being incredibly vague. The examples you listed help a bit, but I think it needs to be made more clear that during a check, for example, only cards that directly affect that check can be played (and other requirements, such as "one spell per check" still need to be followed). Just my 2 cents!


(Quote edited for brevity and added emphasis)

Mike Selinker wrote:

Explorations must happen during the explore step. This is alluded to here:

Quote:
You may explore your location once per turn. Many effects allow you to explore again on your turn; if, during a single exploration, multiple effects each give you an additional exploration, it counts as a total of 1 more exploration, not a series of additional explorations. You may never explore on another player’s turn.

To state that in a little more depth:

On your turn, there is one opportunity, your "free exploration," for you to begin the process of exploring. (You can always give this up. And some cards, like Kyra's character card, will allow you to trade that free exploration for something else.)

After you've done that, or chose not to, several other cards give you a second opportunity to explore again (the key word there being "again").

Make sense? If not, tell me where it doesn't.

Mike

Makes perfect sense for cards that let you explore. I'll update the Turn Sequence docs to make this clear to its readers too.

However, what about cards that might let you encounter a card?

E.g. Detect Magic / Detect Evil have an effect (look at the card) and then an opportunity to encounter that card. Is this 'exploration' or something else? And, therefore, are these cards limited to the same 'only when you can explore again' timing restriction?


Mike,
This is my first Paizo/Pathfinder product. I purchased it for my weekly gaming group and we tried it last week. Some of us are seasoned gamers, some more casual and the lack of clarity in the rules for some people put our normally jovial gaming group into a bit of a funk.

I know much of this has been said before, but it does bear repeating.

We are going to try the game again tonight so I am pretty psyched to have these clarifications. Contrary to some other commenters here, I don't find a lot of these "mindset" rules to be intuitive, nor do other players in my group, so having a much more thorough, clear approach to resolve confusion or (god forbid) disputes about rules, is heartening. If this were not a co-op game, I don't think we would be giving it another shot.

Having spent $50+ on the game, I do feel a little let down that these issues, along with so much on-card and rulebook errata, weren't playtested.

On one hand, I love the game conceptually and much of the mechanics of the game are solid. I will keep pushing through as long as my group allows.

On the other hand, I will not be buying another Paizo product until well after launch due to the number and nature of the issues in this game.

I certainly don't discount the amount of work you have to do to design and produce this game. It's staggering that these games get made at all, in my opinion. That said, we should be able to expect to play the game without having to sit down and write on so many cards and into the rulebook and go through lengthy theoretical discussions about the intent of an unclear phrase during every step of the game.

As you continue on in designing and producing further packs, please go out of your way to create consistent, thorough text on each card. I'm also sure you will have no shortage of play testers to help keep things clear. Use them. It's not fun to beta test a game you've played for. It's somewhat acceptable for a video game because patches become invisible. Patches for card games are an effing mess.

Lastly, I do think that it is reasonable that the gaming community here that has helped with these 1,500 comments and slogged through the gaps in the game design would really appreciate some sort of slight compensation for doing so. Perhaps some of those promo cards that have been slated for conventions could be made available to folks who have purchased the main game? It would be a really nice gesture and would go some distance to reestablish trust and acknowledge that this was a relatively serious series of snafus by the design team at Paizo. Not necessary by the letter of the law, but it would be a really nice thing to do.

Silver Crusade

h4ppy wrote:

(Quote edited for brevity and added emphasis)

Mike Selinker wrote:

Explorations must happen during the explore step. This is alluded to here:

Quote:
You may explore your location once per turn. Many effects allow you to explore again on your turn; if, during a single exploration, multiple effects each give you an additional exploration, it counts as a total of 1 more exploration, not a series of additional explorations. You may never explore on another player’s turn.

To state that in a little more depth:

On your turn, there is one opportunity, your "free exploration," for you to begin the process of exploring. (You can always give this up. And some cards, like Kyra's character card, will allow you to trade that free exploration for something else.)

After you've done that, or chose not to, several other cards give you a second opportunity to explore again (the key word there being "again").

Make sense? If not, tell me where it doesn't.

Mike

Makes perfect sense for cards that let you explore. I'll update the Turn Sequence docs to make this clear to its readers too.

However, what about cards that might let you encounter a card?

E.g. Detect Magic / Detect Evil have an effect (look at the card) and then an opportunity to encounter that card. Is this 'exploration' or something else? And, therefore, are these cards limited to the same 'only when you can explore again' timing restriction?

I'd be curious for an answer to this, too.

One thing I don't really like about Mike's answer is that your free exploration must come before you play any cards that let you explore again. I can understand limiting all exploration to your own explore phase, but there are times when it would be nice to use a card to explore, and then still be able to do your free exploration afterward.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Fromper wrote:
One thing I don't really like about Mike's answer is that your free exploration must come before you play any cards that let you explore again. I can understand limiting all exploration to your own explore phase, but there are times when it would be nice to use a card to explore, and then still be able to do your free exploration afterward.

When? Just to avoid taking those cards as damage if your exploration goes bad?


Mike Selinker wrote:

3. It's your encounter, and no one else can resolve it for you.

Whenever you encounter a card, or make a check, you – and only you – must resolve it. No other character can evade it, defeat it, acquire it, close it, decide what to do with it, or fail at doing any of those things. If Sajan encounters a monster, Merisiel cannot evade it for him. If Harsk encounters a card, Seoni cannot defeat or acquire it for him, unless it requires two checks to do so, in which case Harsk must attempt at least one of them. If Ezren defeats a henchman at the Sandpoint Cathedral, Seelah cannot discard a blessing to close the location. In other words, if you need to wait your turn, wait your turn.

This is the part that has been causing the most confusion in our game thus far. Again, I know this has been rehashed elsewhere. Some cards are very specific about defining when, where and on whom the card's effects can be used. Some are wide open. This is where consistency in the cards is really important. "Your location" "your check"...those two phrases will clear up 90% of the issues. Aside from that, is the rule now "The only time your character can use a card to help another character is when the card explicitly says so."? It might be good to have a clarification on that if there is a broader rule. Again, this would all be unnecessary if all of the cards were consistent and delineated this for us.

Silver Crusade

Mike Selinker wrote:
Fromper wrote:
One thing I don't really like about Mike's answer is that your free exploration must come before you play any cards that let you explore again. I can understand limiting all exploration to your own explore phase, but there are times when it would be nice to use a card to explore, and then still be able to do your free exploration afterward.
When? Just to avoid taking those cards as damage if your exploration goes bad?

Yes. It's not something that comes up a lot, but it's worth considering. Those extra explore cards are usually discarded, but there are situations when you can recharge them instead. So obviously it's best to do that before risking having to discard them, especially if you already know there's a tough fight coming.

This becomes much more common if Detect Magic's timing is limited the same way, which is the open question that h4ppy and I were curious about.

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